Vet drug ketamine faces regulation scrutiny

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China is pushing for ketamine to be changed from a Schedule 3 to Schedule 1 drug.
China is pushing for ketamine to be changed from a Schedule 3 to Schedule 1 drug. © Psychonaught

The use of the veterinary drug ketamine will be under discussion at next month’s World Health Organisation committee meeting in Geneva.

Ketamine, used mainly as an anesthetic, is a Schedule 3 drug in the US under the Controlled Substances Act, but China is asking that it be regulated as a Schedule 1 drug, because of its potential for abuse. International regulation of ketamine as a Schedule 1 drug would mean it would no longer be available to veterinarians.

Ketamine is not controlled internationally under either the Psychotropic Convention or the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. If it was designated Schedule 1, it would be in the same category as cocaine and heroin.

Members of the American Veterinary Medical Association have written to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) outlining their concerns about any changes to regulations regarding the use of ketamine. The FDA will take its recommendations to the WHO.

The WHO meeting is from November 16 to 20.

 

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